COMPLETE PACKING GUIDE FOR THE ICELAND
For my trip to Iceland I researched and researched on what to bring but was still left asking questions. The problem is Iceland’s weather is unpredictable and similar to home, can have 4 seasons in one day. I compiled a list of what was truly necessary and at the bottom added a few things that I wasn’t sure of. I wasn’t afraid of over packing as such as I knew I would be bringing a full case regardless and didn’t want to be left wanted on top of a glacier.
The following list is dependent on the activities you are doing, if you don’t plan to hike or do much walking then walking boots are a bit unnecessary as is a head torch if you are sure not to be out in the dark.
BACKPACK / SUITCASE
If you plan to take a camera, drone, laptop as well as winter clothes you are better off going for a large suitcase.
- Water bottle holder
- Padded for camera protect
- Easy access for the camera
- Secure and easy access for wallet and phone
- Water proof or resistant with a cover
This includes t shirts, mid layers and fleeces, all necessary at this time of year. I found myself wearing 3 layers on top and 1 layer below however people might want to bring some long johns to have just in case. Waterproof trousers are important if you plan to hike.
It’ll be colder than a butcher’s closet so be sure to get yourself a good coat but remember the key is layers layers layers. If you plan to hike in whatever the conditions then a waterproof jacket would also make sense. Layers are key so you can control your body temperature much easier, not to mention more thin layers are better than one big one.
I bring one pair of thin etip gloves along with a pair of mitten gloves to put over them if necessary. I didn’t use the mittens but I don’t mind the cold so much as long as I’m keeping active.
WALKING/WATERPROOF BOOTS OR SHOES
If you plan to do any hikes then ideally you will need walking boots. Personally, I cannot stand walking boots (excuse the pun), they are just too bulky and much prefer waterproof hiking shoes. If you plan to visit just a few waterfalls then trainers should do the job if its not raining, just might your step.
WOOLY HAT AND SCARF/SNOOD
The first thing you will notice is the cold on your head and face. I’ve found snoods are a great way to keep your face and neck protected from the wind.
SUNSCREN & MOISTURISER
Iceland is all about adventure and being outside in the elements so bring plenty of high factor sunscreen. Not be fooled when its cloudy as you are just as much at risk on a cloudy day as you are during a clear day. Moisturiser for your face and hands will be necessary after a long day in the cold.
Even visiting in the winter will require you to bring sunglasses as the extra light coming from the snow can be blinding.
I carry this whether I’m on holiday or not. Your lips constantly have to react to major shifts in temperature so whether you are on the beach, climbing a mountain or skiing its necessary to protect your lips.
Going to check out the northern lights, sunrise or sunset then chances are you’ll be walking in some form of darkness. Iceland has longer nights during the winter so there is a very good chance you will find yourself in need of one. As a last resort use your phone but investing in a head torch will be money well spent.
If you are coming for the Northern Lights and want to give yourself the best opportunity of seeing something then get yourself a camera that has a manual shutter mode. It is often easier to see the lights from the camera than the human eye. If you want to take it to the next level then get a tripod and a lens that has an aperture of 2.8f or less.
Hotels and restaurants are laidback with their dress code so usually jeans and a t-shirt suffice. I would however check to be sure
- Scarf or Snood
- Wind resistant & waterproof jacket
- Waterproof bottoms
- Walking shoes or boots which are waterproof
- Spare layers
- Secondary backpack
- Lip balm
- 2L water bottle
- Food and snacks
- Cash, Icelandic Krona
- Drivers licence / international licence if needs be
- Plug (European 2 pin)
- Power bank
- Car adaptor
Visiting somewhere like Iceland is one of the few places where I would recommend people to bring everything they felt they would need. It’s one thing going to South East Asia with a few pairs of shorts and a t shirt however Iceland is not the type of place you want to be left wanting.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
To check out my Iceland Trip, click here.
- Did I miss anything?
- Have you visited Iceland?
- What was your experience like?
Let me know in the comments below . . .